This article was previously published under Q273475
This article provides information about licensing in Microsoft Windows 2000 and in Microsoft Windows Server 2003. This article also discusses differences between those two operating systems and Microsoft Windows NT 4.0.
Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 Active Directory automatically configures a Site License server for each site in the forest. The License Logging service on each Windows 2000-based or Windows Server 2003-based server in a site replicates its licensing information to a single database on the Site License server.
The Site License server is usually the first domain controller (DC) that is created for the site. In a large organization with multiple sites, licensing information for each site is collected separately by the Site License server in each site. Because of this and unlike in Windows NT, in Windows 2000 and in Windows Server 2003, a centralized database that stores licensing information for every computer in the forest does not exist. The licensing history or information is stored on a per-site basis and can be viewed by a site administrator or administrator for the Site License server by using Licensing or Administrative Tools.
Administrators can also designate a different computer that is running Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 to become the Site License server by changing the license site settings in the Active Directory Site and Services MMC. For optimal performance, a site's licensing computer should be in the same site.
On a server that is running Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003, you can configure how often licensing data is replicated to the Site License server. However, you cannot configure where the data is replicated to. This method is different than the method Windows NT 4.0 uses. Administrators can configure a Windows NT Server 4.0-based server to replicate its licensing data to the PDC or a designated master server.
By default, a Windows NT Server 4.0-based server replicates licensing data to the PDC in its domain. An administrator can configure the DC to either retain the licensing data or replicate it to a designated enterprise server called the Master Server, which collects licensing data from all domains in an enterprise. This setting can be be configured locally or remotely. It is important to note that the option to specify a master server applies only to Windows NT 4.0-based servers, and is unavailable when you are managing a Windows 2000-based server.
In a mixed environment, if you are providing licensing administration for a Windows 2000-based or a Windows Server 2003-based site, you can still configure replication for any Windows NT Server 4.0-based server in your network. For a Windows NT 4.0-based DC, you can select PDC (the default setting) to retain the licensing information for the domain on the DC. Alternatively, you can specify that the licensing information for the domain be replicated to a specified enterprise server.
Preferably, you should consolidate licensing information from a Windows NT 4.0-based DC with other information for your enterprise. To do this, choose to replicate licensing information to an enterprise server, and then specify the Site License server as the enterprise server.
If a Windows NT Server 4.0-based server replicates to a DC which then replicates to an enterprise licensing database, data can take longer to reach the Site License server than with a Windows 2000-based or a Windows Server 2003-based server that is replicating directly to the Site License server. For example, with a replication interval of 24 hours, information can take up to 24 hours to replicate to a DC, and then take up to 24 additional hours to replicate to a Site License server. When the option to replicate to the enterprise server is available for a server that is not a DC, you can increase the replication speed by choosing to replicate directly to the Site License server.